2020 is set to be an absolute stonker of a year in sport, with the Olympics, Paralympics and Euro 2020 all set to provide us with thrills and spills over the next 12 months. But the start of any new year inevitably sparks a raft of fitness-based resolutions whether that be the Couch to 5K or continuing your own fitness journey.
So we’ve looked at the five fitness events to inspire, motivate and guide you on your own personal journey. Sure, we've gone extreme with some of the suggestions, but who knows what you'll realise you're capable of in 2020.
Marathon Des Sables
Sometimes regarded as the toughest footrace on Earth, this is a race held over six days covering a distance of 156 miles. Those of you who are quick at maths will have worked out that that equals around one marathon per day. It seems difficult but perhaps achievable for a top athlete until you realise this ridiculous race takes place in the Sahara in searing hot temperatures.
Past competitors include former Barcelona boss and current Spain coach Luis Enrique, British rower James Cracknell and Pippa Middleton’s husband James Matthews, but the standout athlete from the past decade is Rachid El Morabity from Morocco, who has won every race for the past six years. Now 37, the young guns will be hopeful of taking his crown in 2020.
Racing the Planet
Similarly to the Marathon Des Sables, the Racing the Planet series sees athletes run a six-stage ultramarathon across six days if they can manage it. The only difference here is that this is a five-race series, with races spanning from April to September.
The races take places in Namibia, Mongolia, Georgia, Chile and Antarctica across five deserts and some of the most testing terrain in the world. This may be out of reach for most casual runners but keep putting one foot in front of the other and in a few years, you could find yourself running close to the South Pole.
Reebok Cross Fit Games
The winners of this competition are crowned the ‘Fittest on Earth’ and it is easy to see why. With the event based on all aspects of strength, stamina and aerobic capacity, these men and women will leave you flabbergasted. From rope climbs to sled pushes, sprints to handstand pushups, these events test every muscle in a human’s body, with the winners appearing somewhat superhuman.
Matthew Fraser has won the last four contests for the men while Tia-Clair Toomey is the dominant force in the women’s event, scooping the last three titles.
After witnessing the crazy events above, one marathon in Germany in reasonable weather conditions seems simple, dare we say. However, it is the unrelenting pace and potential world record we could see in this event which is so incredible and will hopefully inspire you to complete a marathon over the coming years.
Eliud Kipchoge made history in 2019 by becoming the first athlete to run under two hours for this distance, although the controlled environment he raced in means that it was not an official world record. However, with the Berlin course being the fastest on the marathon circuit, he could break his own record this time around. Don’t miss it.
Whole Earth Man v Horse Marathon
Ah, the age-old question. Who is faster, a man or a horse? It seems simple until you realise the marathon is done over difficult mountainous terrain in Wales, leading to some extremely close finishes. First raced in 1980 after a chat in a pub, the event has gathered more interest and is now known around the world.
Llanwrtyd Wells is the venue and every year we see a close finish, proving exactly why this event is so brilliant to be a part of. The horse has come out on top for the past seven years, but the inclusivity of this event means that anybody can enter and try their luck against a four-legged friend.
The prize money is also tempting, with the jackpot increasing by £500 every year it isn’t won, meaning that this year £3500 is up for grabs! That pales into comparison with the amount the first winner Huw Lobb won in 2004, since he took home £25,000.